Culinary Word of the Day

025 Deep Frying

Episode Summary

Definition, use, and examples of the word deep frying.

Episode Notes

Hosted by Jenn de la Vega 

Research by Alicia Book

Videos edited by Chris De Pew

Knife logo by pixel artist Rachelle Viola


Episode Transcription


I’m Jenn de la Vega and this is your culinary word of the day. 


Today’s word is deep frying

It is spelled...D-E-E-P space F-R-Y-I-N-G 


Jessica Gavin explains:

“Deep-frying is a dry-heat cooking method, utilizing fat or oil to cook pieces of food. The process works by completely submerging food in hot liquid. Depending on the type of oil chosen and food being fried, a high temperature of up to 400°F (204°C) is maintained to create golden-brown surface textures in a short amount of time.


When food hits the hot oil you’ll see bubbles circulating around the item. The moisture from the surface of the food rapidly turns into steam, allowing the process of crust formation to begin. Typically the food being fried is starchy or coated first with a breading or batter. The starches on the surface eventually dry, creating a crispy crust. Some oil may migrate inwards when moisture moves out, but it mostly sticks on to the outside of the food. In general, the amount of oil absorbed into the food is equal to the amount of water that is removed during frying.”

Rebecca Strassberg reports for Thrillist:

“When Egyptians invented deep-frying in the 5th millennium BC, they had no idea how it would change the culinary world for the better. Other cultures quickly followed. 


Romans next, citing the technique in the cookbook Apicius, named after 1st century food connoisseur Marcus Gavius Apicius. The collection of recipes (which is widely believed to have been published in 1483 but dates back even further) includes chicken dipped in oil, then pan-fried. 


When Japan learned of the method in the 1600s, they decided to innovate by giving us tempura: a lighter version of most deep-fried treats, consisting of vegetables and seafood dipped in a wheat-flour batter. 


A crucial moment happened in the late 1800s, when cast iron cookware became widely available. The extremely durable and heat-retaining material was used to make the Dutch oven (a cooking pot with a tightly-secured lid) as well as pans and skillets. 


Placing any one of these tools on top of an open flame helped contain the fire, bringing forth a modern approach to cooking. (You can thank cast iron for popularizing Southern fried chicken in all of its hot, crispy glory.)”


Caroline Stanko from Taste of Home, shares tips for deep frying:

We recommend frying on the stovetop. To do this, find a large, deep pot, preferably with high sides and a long handle. You’ll be filling the pot with a few inches of hot oil, so you want to make sure there’s plenty of room for food to float without the liquid rising near the top. 


Since you’ll be dealing with very hot material that’s easy to spill, it’s important to have a firm, steady surface to work on. 


To lift and lower food you’ll want a wire basket, slotted metal spoon or kitchen spider. I prefer the spider because it’s lightweight and easy to maneuver as I scoop delicate mashed potato balls or onion rings. You’ll also want a pair of long tongs for flipping food from a distance and plenty of paper towels for draining the cooked food.


You’ll be heating up your cooking oil to an extremely high temperature, so stay focused as you cook. 


Remember this old science lesson: Water and oil do not mix. Keep this in mind to prevent oil from spilling or spattering (which can cause some pretty nasty burns). [...] Be extra-careful to wipe down wet utensils and pat any extra moisture off the food before dipping it in the oil.

Fry only with oils that have a high smoking point. Smoking point is the temperature it takes for the oil to start to break down and smoke. Once it smokes, it’s not good for frying. Use: Peanut oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, corn oil or vegetable oil.

Don’t use: Butter and shortening have a low smoking point, so avoid them. The same goes for olive oil. 

For further reading and safety precautions, check out Deep Frying on


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I’m Jenn de la Vega and this has been your culinary word of the day. 

Next time on Culinary Word of the day, we submerge...partially.